Judge questions Trump administration’s ‘grandma ban’: ‘What universe does that come from?’

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Some important developments as Donald Trump’s Muslim ban returns to court this week, namely Seattle’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals bluntly questioning Justice Department attorneys on the administration’s so-called “Grandma ban” provision:

Three federal appeals court judges on Monday challenged the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the country under the travel ban, with one questioning from “what universe” the government got the idea that the mother-in-law of a U.S. resident could enter while cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are barred.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court said President Donald Trump’s 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced pending arguments scheduled for October — but only if those visitors lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” such as a close family relationship or a job offer from a U.S. company.

“How can the government take the position that a grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncles of a child in the United States does not have a close familial relationship?” Judge Ronal Gould asked administration attorneys. “Like what universe does that come from?”

One could ask that about lots of things coming out of this administration. As Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said following this week’s hearing, Donald Trump’s Muslim ban “has no factual basis in stopping terrorism. It’s purely designed to discriminate against people based on their nation of origin. So for them to dicker and nickel and dime us over what is a close family relationship, ultimately that’s affecting people’s constitutional rights.”